Air conditioning. That’s the only reason Louisiana summers stay active with shows. At least, I can’t imagine it happening any other way. No doubt, people with stronger constitutions than I braved hotter weather and intermittent central cooling to watch the greats of the 20th century play. But that was their time, and this is my struggle. This month, you have an opportunity to see some of Acadiana’s best from that sweatier era — Lil’ Buck Sinegal, Bas Clas — in much more comfortable, artificial climates.
Sunday, June 10
Lil’ Buck Sinegal & His Blues Band
Lil’ Buck is a quiet guy who’s short in stature — his Stratocaster rides on his chest like a chrome bumper on a Cadillac. But his legend is loud and large. Buck’s perhaps best known for backing zydeco legends Clifton Chenier, Buckwheat Zydeco and Rockin’ Dopsie. As a bluesman, he commands center stage with a lyrical and expressive style reminiscent of players like Buddy Guy. Lil’ Buck performs as part of Creole Culture Day, a celebration and exploration of the black Creole culture of Southwestern Louisiana that taught the world to zydeco.
Friday, June 15
Kelli Jones With Renée Reed and Carver Baronda
As a songwriter, Kelli Jones has flown somewhat under the radar locally. But there’s a growing buzz about her work outside of her regular gig with progressive Cajun outfit Feufollet. Jones’ musical heritage is more hill Country than Cajun Country, but her songwriting defies both traditions. Her work is clever, thoughtful and effortlessly hooky. Take a listen to her track “Red Light,” recorded with Feufollet, for a taste.
Saturday, Jun 16
Bas Clas with The Viatones
Image courtesy of Facebook.com/BasClas/
There’s a story that Bas Clas bassist Geoff Thistlethwaite tells about how, in the 1980s, his band was confused for punks. The solution? Book in actual punk bands like The Replacements and Blag Fag to Lafayette and play with them. Bas Clas joins a long tradition of insider/outsider rock bands from the Acadiana area — think Rufus Jagneaux in the 1970s, Frigg A Go Go in the 1990s, The Amazing Nuns in 2000s. They defined the scene from a distant perch and mingled with the traditionalists, even as their work was out of step with the local mainstream. That Bas Clas sounds relevant in indie rock world today demonstrates the music industry’s tendency to recycle innovations from spearheading bands like them.
Friday, June 22
Jefferson Street Pub
Image courtesy of Facebook.com/theo.looijmans
Dege Legg is relentless. Going on 25 years now, he’s operated on the fringes of rock and roll in pursuit of swampier and sweatier sounds. His approach to dobro guitar is aggressive and snaky, conjuring something arcane but not quite voodoo. Over the past three months, he’s galavanted about Europe on tour — a far cry from his turn as a Lafayette cab driver. This show celebrates the release of Farmers Almanac, his fourth record under the Brother Dege moniker.
Sunday, June 24
Horace Trahan & The Ossun Express
Image courtesy of Facebook.com/Horace.Trahan
After all these years, Horace Trahan is probably still best known for “That Butt Thing,” a novelty hit from the 1990s that skyrocketed him to regional prominence. No disrespect to “Butt Thing,” but Trahan has gone on to greater heights since then, carrying his signature playfulness and nonchalance with him. In any case, “Same Knife Cut the Sheep Cut the Goat” is a much better song. A white man fronting a zydeco band is rarity in the genre even today. But Trahan is fully immersed in the Acadiana Creole community. That he’s not more known for what makes him stand out in zydeco is a testament to his commitment to the culture and the culture’s warm embrace.